Friday, January 29, 2010

Peace, Sweet Peace

I don't think that I've mentioned yet that I have had my oldest working on my blog layout. I'm not completely happy with this one but it is an improvement over the other. We'll be checking out some new options over the next few weeks until we settle into something. Notice how I wrote "we'll be checking." Actually, Josh does the checking and then asks what I think. Let me just add right here that the boy is learning patience! (ok, can I really keep calling him a boy? I mean, he's my boy and my firstborn but he will be 20 next month -- 20!)

I am leaving in just a couple of hours for the Peace Retreat. I am speaking at a retreat for my dear friend and the topic is peace. The theme verse is 2 Thessalonians 3:16 - "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!"

There are lots of verses that contain the word peace. Peace, however, can only be truly given -- did you see that I wrote it had to be given or, as the NASB states it "granted" -- by the Prince of Peace. Ephesians 2:14 lets us know that "He Himself is our peace." There is no true peace outside of Him.

God wants us to total peace in every part of our lives. Even in the storm. Even in the chaos. If you are chasing peace then chase God. He wants to be found by you.

Going in peace,


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Compassion for Haiti

Yesterday I went to a meeting that's subject was future relief work in Haiti. There will be need for relief work, rebuilding and restoration for years to come. It's overwhelming to even think about. Even though it will be a few weeks before regular people can get in to do any kind of work there are things that those regular people must do to prepare to go in. Getting training to go will be a priority for anyone planning to go to Haiti over the next year.

We talked about the word compassion a couple of weeks ago in Bible study. Compassion means that one sees a need and is compelled to act. It's not just feeling sad or sorry but having a desire to do something as a result.

The news out of Haiti is mostly heartbreaking. Yes, there has been news the last couple of days that a couple of people have been pulled out of the rubble alive more than 2 weeks after the initial earthquake. Samaritan's Purse reported on Twitter today that a baby was born - a new life begun. In the midst of the good news is an overwhelming amount of bad, awful, devastating news.

For now, what can we do? We can give -- make sure you are giving to a reputable organization like Samaritan's Purse or Baptist Global Relief or North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. These organizations are prepared and able to provide much needed physical and material help as well as the Good News of Jesus Christ. The next thing to do is pray. Actually, praying is the first thing we should be doing. I hope you are praying. Finally, if you think you might possibly want to go in the future then start preparing now. Look around for opportunities for disaster relief training. Make sure your passport is up to date. Check out the CDC website for required immunizations.

I'm sure I'll have more to write on this subject in the future -- I, for one, hope for the opportunity to go to Haiti!

Serving the King,


Monday, January 25, 2010

Marvelous Monday & Spaghetti Guidelines

Yesss! Today has been the first "normal" Monday since sometime way back in December. I truly love it when my kids are home and we have lots of family time but, good grief, we have been out of a routine for an eternity, it seems. With the days we had off due to the flooding at our school, finals were just last week so the younger two had half days off even last Thursday and Friday. This will be a crazy week - we have basketball every night this week except Wednesday - but, at least, I have my Monday. I will be missing the games on Friday night, however, as I am speaking at a women's retreat in East Texas. I am most excited about that. The retreat theme is peace (which, obviously, I have been in need of these days when we've been out of a routine) and I hope to share some things God has been teaching me in that area later this week.

Since my friend Julie commented that she wants my spaghetti recipe I thought I might just share what I will call my "spaghetti sauce guidelines" since I don't really have a recipe. I like to imagine that I'm a really good cook -- my family humors me much of the time when I make things without a recipe and they turn out pretty delicious. So, here's just a few things that I think you should know to make your own really terrific spaghetti sauce:

I start with ground beef (I prefer lean) and I brown it in my biggest skillet. I take it out of the pan to drain it. Here's what I think makes the sauce delicious - before I return the meat to the pan, I add a little olive oil (maybe a tablespoon or a tablespoon and a half) and some garlic that I have finely chopped. I saute that garlic - on low heat because you do not want it to burn. (Burned garlic is awful!) Then, you return the meat and add any combination of tomato sauce, tomato paste, or crushed tomatoes that you might have on hand. My family does not want to see anything that looks like a chunk of tomato so even if I have diced tomatoes in my pantry I will put them in the food processor before I use them. Then, you add the spices. Oh yeah, you could also saute a little chopped onion but my family doesn't like onion pieces either. I use onion powder, instead. Sometimes I will use the Italian Spices (the ones in the jar actually labeled Italian Spices) but the main ones I like are basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley. I also add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I also like just a little crushed red pepper. When I have herbs growing in my garden then I like to add fresh ones instead of the dried.

You should just make the sauce, adding a little of the herbs that you like at a time until it taste like you want it to. Just remember, after you add the herbs you have to let it simmer for a while before you taste it or add more. I think it's fun to experiment. Plus, I almost always have the stuff on hand to make it so it's a great go-to meal when I don't have time to plan a menu.

So, that's my cooking tip for the day. I really like cookbooks (I got 3 new ones in December!), cooking shows, cooking gadgets, so I'd love for you to share your cooking wisdom with me!

Serving the King,


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Blog Break

I'm back...just in case anyone is still checking in. I've been on an unintentional blog break. I don't know what's been wrong with me except for the fact that it has been a crazy month. Everyone finally got back in school (Josh just moved back to college on Monday of this week) and we are settling back down into a routine. Sort of. Basketball keeps us out late and on the go. Tonight is my night to cook dinner for the boys' team. Coach wanted spaghetti and I fixed ... I can't believe I'm going to admit this in writing... sauce from a jar. SAUCE FROM A JAR! I never make sauce from a jar but, oh well.

In other news, I am excited about the recent election results and deeply saddened by the horrific circumstances in Haiti. I was invited to a meeting on Tuesday to plan and strategize for future work in Haiti. I'm very interested to hear what kinds of plans are being made. There will be relief work and rebuilding going on over there for months and months, maybe years.

The real reason I haven't typed a thing is that I completely don't know what to type. It's like I have a blog writer's block. I don't know what to put as my status on facebook and I don't have a decent tweet to twitter. Life is moving at such a fast pace and I want it to slow down. I need it to slow down. And, we aren't sleeping too much at the Dickerson house. It's the puppy. She whines and howls at night. Yes, she howls and likes to get up before dawn.

So, there you go. That's all I got. Besides, I've gotta get the garlic bread in the oven.

Serving the King,


Friday, January 8, 2010

The One Day Way Review & Giveaway

***Update - And the winner is...#4 - Sherry Harris!! The scientific way I determined the winner is asking Jacob to pick a number between 1 and 5 and it couldn't be 3. I'll get the book to you soon, Sherry!

I received a new book for my Blog for Books gig titled The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs. Apparently, Ms. Hobbs was previously 200 pounds overweight and she got to that point of desperation where she decided that some changes were necessary. The point of her book is, basically, that sometimes we don't reach our goals because we make these lofty goals that are reachable somewhere way in the future. We get discouraged or disillusioned along the way and simply give up before we get there. So, instead, the author's theory is to break goals down into daily, attainable pieces. She asserts that we can't let yesterday's failures get us down. That's history, it's over and done with. Another piece of the puzzle is not comparing ourselves to others. We should compare ourself with only ourself. Isn't that hard for women in particular? We are so bombared with images from the culture and even those around us. We can't make a life change for anyone but ourselves.

The book is quick read that is motivational at the start and hit me where I live. I could so relate. The book also contains helpful insights and practical advice. The author challenges the reader to set bit-sized goals and to celebrate when those are achieved. The "10 Commandments for the One-Day Way to Eat for Weight Loss" are something I am incorporating into my own life. The author also includes easy fitness and exercise tips.

This book reminds the reader that it's not about yesterday or tomorrow but it's about what you do today. It's not really about dieting but changing your life to be fit and healthy. How many times have you heard that? I know I have over and over again. This book is a great resource for helping you to do just that. And, what a great time to start -- maybe you, like me, take the opportunity at the beginning of a new year to think about what you hope to accompish in the new year. If you would like to have a copy of The One Day Way then I would like to give it to you. WaterBrook Press has provided me one copy of this book to giveaway. If you are interested, leave me a comment. I'll leave comments open until next Tuesday (the 12th) and then I will give the book away!

I am going the One-Day Way. I am looking forward to the results but I'm not looking too far ahead. I'm changing my life, one day at a time.

Serving the King,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ahhhh, Fusion Day

Today was the first day back at Fusion since our little Christmas break. I was so glad to be there. I woke up early and jumped right outta bed even though it was cold in the house. (However, we're about to get some real cold down here in Texas. Oh my goodness, the coldest it's been here in 13 years, one weatherman said.) I absolutely adore my Fusion girls and, more importantly, love the privilege of studying God's Word together with a group of women. I love to hear what God is teaching them from their own personal time of studying His Word. I love it how what God is teaching them gets to spill over into the lives of others (including me) when we gather together. I love it that we are refreshed and renewed and then sent out to our own little mission fields to influence and teach others. It is just about my most favorite things on earth.

Then, I got to have lunch with an old friend and her sister today. We (my friend and I) have this common history, this chapter in our lives that we share. We'll forever be linked together by our past experience but it's fun now to see her and talk about new stuff. I'm really looking forward to seeing how God uses this godly young woman in the future!

And, finally, this is the day that we pick up our new dog. She's a baby. She is still unnamed but it will have to be something that starts with a J. Since we got rid of our other dog (not Jot, the one that I loved that died but the disastrous one) I have come to realize that I miss having a dog. I miss having a companion to jog with at the park or keep me company when I'm home alone during the day. This is our first female and Jessica and I already got her a bright pink color and leash! I'll be back in a day or so to post some pics.

In the meantime, if you are not involved in a small group Bible study then get yourself into one. Make it your goal and ambition for the new year. You need the encouragement and the accountability. We all do.

Serving the King,


Monday, January 4, 2010

The Year of No Presents to Wrap

We End The Year of no presents
With a dream trip for two
It doesn’t really matter that our daughter laughs at where we are going
I don’t care where….I just love being with you.

I have been getting back to my study of Matthew for Fusion this morning and I came across the ode Johnny wrote me for this Christmas where he and I didn't exchange a wrappable gift. We, instead, decided to take the trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I thought about copying the whole thing here but it's full of all kinds of personal stuff so I've just posted the last verse. He typed it up and wrapped it for me because I think he just wanted me to have something to unwrap. He's thoughtful like that. He's written poetry for me on occasion throughout of relationship. It's really sweet but my purpose is not to embarrass him but to tell just about the biggest complement I think I've ever received.

As I wrote about in my last post, we went on a snowmobile ride through Yellowstone. We spent the day with our guide and 5 other people on our tour. On the way back to Jackson Hole, I chatted with one of the women we spent the day with. We talked about all sorts of things but toward the end of our conversation she said, " (meaning Johnny and me) seem to be really good friends."

Yeah, we are. He's my best friend. The person that shares my heart and my dreams. My knight in shining armor. The protector and provider for me and the three that belong to us. The love of my entire life.

The year of no presents to wrap ended excellently with me and my man. Just the 2 of us hanging out in Jackson Hole. It truly was a great year!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Creator Created

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:20

One of the most fun and awe-inspiring things I have ever done is to go on a 138-mile snowmobile ride through Yellowstone National Park. I had no idea it is so gigantic. What an incredible day! And, it snowed most of the day!

We were picked up by our guide at 6:30 am (yes, we paid for the privilege of getting up before dawn while on vacation) to go get fitted with all our gear and make the drive out to Yellowstone. Once we got there and on the snowmobiles we started out on our journey past the park entrance and on to the Continental Divide. During the day we saw three waterfalls, a mud volcano, several thermals, and miles and miles and miles of trees covered in snow. We stopped halfway through the day at a warming hut and our guide fed us some stew he brought along. It was so yummy and hit the spot after riding around in temps in the teens. We saw wildlife like coyotes, a bald eagle, swans, and some buffalo off in the distance.

While the entire day was quite an adventure, the thrill of the day was when we were on our way back and up ahead on the road was a herd of buffalo. Yes, on the road, up ahead, in the direction we were headed. Our guide told us to stay together and not to stop for any reason at all. Johnny kept driving and I kept snapping pictures. I've posted 2 below, along with some other photos from the day. Seriously, we could've reached out and touched those buffalo. We were that close.

I'm amazed at all I learned about God's creation during that trip through Yellowstone. The beauty of the park and the wonder of the boiling water coming out of the earth and the awesomeness of snow-covered acres lit up by the full moon (because we were late getting back and it was dark before we returned to our starting point) is beyond my ability to describe in words on a blog. This I know for sure, when God created the heavens and earth, when He spoke it all into existence, and said that it was good, He meant it. It's real good.

Serving the Creator,